Sep 25, 2011

Leah Ashton Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from SECRETS & SPEED DATING by 2010 New Voices winner Leah Ashton, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- EllenToo!

Congratulations, Ellen! Can you please contact Sue at

lsmackay (at) ts (dot) co (dot) nz

and she'll send you a copy of RETURN OF THE MAVERICK.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from SECRETS & SPEED DATING  by Leah Ashton...

Sophie Morgan’s dealt with life’s curveballs by being logical. Her latest project is to reclaim her life now her fiancé’s left her. 

Task one: find a boyfriend. 

Step one: speed dating. 

But Sophie takes a rather unconventional approach!

[Set up: Dan is determined to shake up Sophie's perfectly organised life, and whisks her off to an unplanned tour of Fremantle. On the beach, Dan accuses Sophie of denying the attraction between them because to do so would be unscheduled and spontaneous - and therefore very unlike Sophie.]

She shook her head. “You are wrong. I’m not the automaton you think I am.” She stepped toward him, driven by a bottomless ache inside her. “I think, and feel and react...” She pressed one palm to his chest, and pushed once, hard. But he didn’t move, not even a centimetre. “...and feel...”

All the fight faded from her against the immoveable wall of Dan. She dipped her head, the hand on his chest curling as it relaxed and just laid there, defeated, for a moment.

But before it could fall away, and before she could succumb to the prickle of unwanted tears, his hand covered hers, holding it where it lay.

His other hand tipped her chin up.

“I know you feel, Soph.”

When you let yourself.

Maybe he wasn’t thinking those words, but Sophie was. She as good as heard them, crystal clear and unforgiving.

And right.

Who was she kidding? It had taken her six months to let out all the pain that Rick had inflicted – and even that had been to a total stranger in a bar. Six months of distracting herself, keeping her mind busy – whether planning her holiday or planning her new life.

She’d been staring determinedly at a tiny freckle on Dan’s cheek, but now she let her gaze wander to his eyes.

How did she feel about Dan? Attracted to him, definitely. And she liked him, too. Enough to know what she was about to do was a very stupid idea.

But that was exactly why she was going to do it.

One kiss – how could it hurt, really? Could it hurt to succumb to the tingles that rocketed through her body whenever he touched her, and the urge to make his heart, beating so strongly beneath her palm, thump even faster – for her?

She left her right hand where it lay, creeping her left hand up and behind his neck, his fingers brushing against his short cropped hair. She stood on her tip toes, her attention flickering between his eyes and his mouth.

Ahhh, there it goes, she thought, the pitter patter of his heart accelerating nicely.

“Are you sure, Soph, I thought you didn’t want this?”

She raised an eyebrow, her lips a whisper from his. “Really, Dan? I’m trying to be spontaneous and you’re going to analyse it? I’m living in the moment, just like you said.”

She’d meant to kiss him, then – to lean that little bit closer and cover his mouth with hers.

But he beat her to it. He kissed her.

His mouth was firm. Warm. Nice.

No, nice was completely the wrong word. Amazing. Perfect. Right.

His arm wrapped around her, pulling her close. His heart raced, and so did hers, her body shivering at the sweep of his hand across her back – hot through the thin cotton of her dress.

His tongue brushed against her bottom lip and she instantly deepened the kiss, exploring the shape of lips, his teeth, his tongue.

The hand on his heart slid upwards, a casualty of her almost desperate need to feel his heat. Her hand threaded into his hair, and would have pulled him closer if doing so had been physically possible.

The kiss went on and on, their mouths breaking apart only to reunite at different angles. Her hands roamed over his shoulders, his over her back, her waist.

Sophie’s head and body spun with sensation and the electricity of her body’s reaction. She could feel his body’s reaction against her belly, a warning that she really needed to take a step backwards. And soon, before this went too far.

Just not yet.

SECRETS & SPEED DATING is out now in the UK as part of the Mills & Boon Loves... anthology with Maisey Yates, Barbara Wallace and Aimee Carson. For more information about the book and where to buy it, visit Leah's website.

Leah is giving a copy of SECRETS & SPEED DATING to one lucky commenter! To be in the draw, simply answer her question:

"Tell us about a time you've had a carefully planned project go completely wrong."

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from RETURN OF THE SECRET HEIR by Rachel Bailey will be posted!


  1. Hey anytime I plan something things will go wrong. Happens about ever time. Even if I am painting the house I will run into some kind of problem.

  2. OMG! What a smooch :) Especially because I can feel how much she wants it, yet denied herself ;)

    I won Leah's book (M&BLoves), so count me out of the giveaway!

    And planning ;) I ain't telling anything because, still there're times when we (me and DH) regret the international move we made... But well... no point have to plan for what next than think about what we did wrong..!!! Onward and upward, is the only way to go now...

  3. Congrats on your debut release Leah! Love the smooch. It's HOT.

    The surprise birthday party that i had planned for my best friend almost ended in a near disaster. Somethings went wrong with the venue 2 days before the party. It was a panic filled 2 days. I don't know what else could go more wrong that day.

  4. Leah, I love that smooch! Love the dynamic between Dan and Soph. Can't wait to read the full book.

    When have I had a planned project go completely wrong? Most of my days are like that, lol.

  5. Thanks Virginia, Ju, Sonali, Rachel and Robyn - glad you enjoyed the smooch!

    On the subject of carefully planned projects that have gone pearshaped, I'm about to run out the door to frantically finish my revisions on my second book, but I'll be back later tonight.

  6. Gorgeous smooch, Leah!

    I've learned (or perhaps I'm still learning!) to be a *lot* more flexible with my planning and to accept that things will often not work out quite the way I want. The only thing I can hope to control is my reaction to a hiccup - so now I try to be more relaxed and accept that *my* way might not always be the *only* way... and indeed may not always be the *best* way!

    Ahhhh, smelling the roses and having a very zen moment!

  7. Leah, I love this kiss! I can totally see why you won the New Voices!!

    Being a perfectionist, I try to always make things work out how I plan them -- but I'm also trying to cultivate some of Sharon's zen and to be more relaxed about the hiccups that can occur! I definitely need to read Secrets & Speed Dating ... I have a horrible feeling I'm a Sophie!

  8. Dan, Dan, Dan... *sigh*

    I've 'met' Dan as Leah was creating him and have such a crush :) This steamy kiss is only the beginning.

    Great kiss, great story.

    As for plans going awry... I'm with Ju... happens so often you just have to have an 'onwards and upwards' approach. No regrets.


  9. That would be me learning to drive imaging a trip around Australia. Instead I crashed into the front fence. NO-ONE was impressed. Maybe it is best I don't go on a driving holiday.

  10. OMG, What a hot kiss!
    I'm so sorry I haven't had a chance to visit Leah's website so far, all my plans go awry by something or other, so this was the first time I came across her writing. Leah, you write, sassy and modern, girl, this excerpt has a vibrancy to it which I find refreshing!

    Well done, you! Congratulations on the release of your debut!

  11. Wonderful kiss. Got my heart rate up.

    Life throws wrenches at you all the time. My husband and I were set to go to Las Vegas for a convention. Had things planned to the last degree but then my grandmother passed away. That happened back in the late 70's. Seems like every time we planned a trip since then we have had hic ups in our plans. Now we plan for them.

  12. Heavenly kiss, Leah! Can't wait to read Secrets and Speed Dating. :-)

  13. Love this smooch. So very nice and sexy.

    And hmm, I had plans to have a novel written in four years, and that never actually happened between a computer eating up the manuscript and then stopping writing because it wasn't working out for me. So, yeah, plans effectively wrenched. (:

  14. Leah, I love this! I can see why you wowed them in the New Voices competition. Will definitely be looking to read this. Her hand on his chest at the beginning, so evocative.
    Carefully planned things that go wrong? Biggest thing I can think of is my carefully charted professional career. Did really well in undergrad, scored a place in the honours program, ended up writing my thesis around a huge pregnant belly and now am a happy stay at home Mum on a chook farm! Best derailing of plans ever, now I get to pursue my real dream...

  15. Sharon - Oh, I envy your zen-ness! I am nothing like Sophie, but I'm also not very good at the zen stuff either :)

    Emily - You DO sound like a Sophie! To be honest, I wish I had a bit more Sophie in me. I'm a perfectionist without the carefully planned steps to get there, which can be problematic :)

    Nikki - Thank you! I'll always think of this as the Clown Car scene :)

    Marybelle - Oh dear! I hope you were okay.

  16. Nas - Wow, thanks for your lovely compliment. I guess it goes to show that even a Romance/Sweet can be pretty hot :)

    Kaelee - I went to Las Vegas in June, and I adored it. Not at all what I expected. I hope you get to have your holiday there one day soon.

    Michelle - Thank you! I hope you enjoy the rest of the book, too.

    Marlena - Oh, please don't give up. Trust me, my first few attempts (even of Secrets & Speed Dating) didn't go anywhere good, either. With writing you just need to keep going until you get it right. You can do it!

    Natalie - Thanks, I liked the hand thing, too :) It just happened, not sure where the image came from. Also, awesome example of the best type of derailed plans!

  17. Leah, great excerpt!

    Something carefully planned that went wrong was during a week long vacation for my birthday to the Florida Keys, there was a tropical storm or hurricane (cyclone) that looked like it was heading toward the Keys and cut short the trip by about two days so we had to drive about 7 hours home early in the morning so we would not get caught in the storm.